Last Saturday in Allentown, Pa., retired NFL receiver David Tyree ran through fire, swam through frigid, muddy waters and even stomached a habanero chili, his least favorite obstacle, all to be dubbed one Tough Mudder.
But Tyree, 31, says his struggles over the hellish 10-mile course were worth it, and nothing compared to those of Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers defensive end paralyzed during a game against Army last October. That's why Tyree and the three other members of Team Believe will undertake several Tough Mudder events this year to raise money for the Eric LeGrand Belief Fund.
In Allentown encouragement for LeGrand, who has regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body, could be seen and heard along the course as his jersey number ("Five-two!") was shouted by teammates and supporters.
"We're reaching out to show Eric we really love him," says Tyree, best known for his helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.
When it was all over, the battered Team Believe members collected mud from the finish line to bring to LeGrand, thereby including him as an official team member. "I feel I was there in spirit," says LeGrand. "It means a lot for them to put their bodies through that for me." Team Believe says there's a spot waiting for him on the course when he's ready.
DMITRY GUDKOV (TYREE)
Grime Pays Tyree and his team hope their pains can help LeGrand's cause.